We may not be aware of it, but we always have a chair pulled out for the surprising demands of our hearts. Happiness, loneliness, fear, sadness, anger - each comes as an unexpected guest. Each moment contains a new arrival. Instead of turning them away, according to the Sufi poet Rumi, we should extend our hospitality: "Welcome and entertain them all. Treat each guest honorably. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”
When unpleasant forces enter our lives, we often shut them out. When we send these forces away, we have lost an important chance to grow. Instead, we should admit them as guests to our table, because they can teach us how to become more conscious human beings. When we welcome, entertain, feed, and listen to our unanticipated emotions, we become better at regulating and respecting our feelings, and we aid ourselves in development as people.